(Reuters) - Authorities in Mississippi are investigating a car crash that killed an outspoken advocate of the Confederate flag, the New York Times and U.S. media reported on Monday.
Anthony Hervey, 49, the author of "Why I wave the Confederate Flag: Written by a Black Man," died on Sunday while returning home to Oxford, Mississippi, from a Confederate flag rally in Alabama, broadcaster WMCA reported.
The flag has been a flashpoint for racial tensions for decades. Supporters say it is a symbol of Southern heritage, while opponents argue it represents slavery and racism.
A companion in Hervey's car told Mississippi investigators he swerved on a state highway to avoid another vehicle that had pulled alongside them, the New York Times reported.
The companion, who was not badly injured in the crash, said Hervey yelled something at the people in the other car, which then drove to the passenger side of their vehicle.
Mississippi's Clarion-Ledger newspaper said the companion told investigators it appeared they were being chased.
The SUV eventually veered off the road and rolled several times, according to the reports.
Hervey died of injuries sustained in the wreck.
The Mississippi Highway Patrol said the accident was under investigation but gave no further details, the Times said.
In South Carolina, racial and cultural tensions have peaked since nine African-Americans were killed in a historic Charleston church by a white gunman who appeared to be heavily influenced by the Confederate flag.
The South Carolina state legislature subsequently voted to remove the flag from the State House grounds, where it had flown since 1961.
(Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere in Los Angeles; Editing by Paul Tait)